Friday, September 19, 2008

Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out

Apparently the greenies of the world have a new strategy to save the planet - kill all the people.

This week Sen. Bob Brown introduced a private member's bill into Parliament which would allow for NT and ACT to legalise euthanasia.

In Canada, the leader of the Greens apologised for not smoking dope, and wants to sell it through government agencies.

Greenies will let you kill yourself in your choice of ways. Definitely a great way to minimise human impact on the environment.

Well, ok, maybe not. Yay! for common sense. It's great to see some filtering into government. I sincerely hope Bob Brown's legislation gets up, there is no excuse for allowing people to die hideous, painful deaths. And if you've ever wondered under what circumstances you might be able to find the line in the sand for yourself, that point at which you would choose to take the ultimate sleeping pill, just have a look at this story about one of the worst ways to go I know of. Be warned though, it made me cry.

And although I hold out little hope for it, I'd love to see marijuana legalised and sold in a regulated way, along with ecstasy while we're at it. Imagine a world filled with chilled out, blissed out people instead of liquored up, belligerent ones. I figure people will find a drug regardless, let's at least offer a range of less harmful ones and let them choose the one that works best for them. (And for me, I am not pretending I am too good to self medicate.)

Monday, September 15, 2008


The gates have gone up. The beagle is opposing thumb deprived. And if you think I'm cruel laughing at his predicament, you clearly haven't met my beagle.

Can we have this dinner every night?

It was a triumph! It was healthy, it contained many vegies, Crash and I loved it and all THREE children ate it! All of it. And they were still talking about it this morning.

This amazingly wondrous meal? Stuffed pumpkin. Stuffed with mince and bacon and onion, thickened with some egg. Served with peas and corn. I've never made it before, so we took the usual step of finding a recipe and ignoring it completely. I think the recipe did involve pumpkin, meat and onion. It also had about another 8 ingredients and wanted you to cook the meat for two hours before putting it in the pumpkin. We opted for making it brown. It took about 2 and a half hours to cook. It was really seriously good and I am looking forward to trying variations on the theme. Chicken, lamb, other flavourings...

And a whole pumpkin on the table looks very cool.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tired and sticky

Today started badly. We woke up at 7:25am, which is too late to get 3 kids to Homebush swimming pool by 8:30am. At 7:27am, there was a knock on the door. I had pants on, but was still putting a shirt on as I ran down the stairs to open the door to the P&C president who was coming to pick up our enormous esky (bought for Carols in the Domain) to hold sausages for the school's Gala day. Local government elections were held today, an obvious fundraising opportunity.

It was improved no end by getting two cars to the pool and discovering that between us we had only brought one of the two swimming bags. Crash had to go home to get it. On the plus side, all the swimmers were with us, only towels and clothing were missing, so everyone got to their lessons. Unfortunately, my schedule only allowed for 30 minutes at the pool, but Crash couldn't possibly get home and back in 30 minutes...

So I was late to get to the school for the gelato delivery. Thankfully the P&C president is a much better mother than me, and took over for me. I arrived as they were setting up. I then sold gelato from 10am to 4:30pm, with about an hour and half off in the middle chasing the two older boys around the school.

The ultimate irony is that I couldn't actually vote at the polling place I was at all day, and when they finally took the gelato away, I had to go to another school to vote. I'm sure you know how much effort I put into voting. I sincerely hope the Greens know what to do with my preferences, because I sure as hell didn't...

So now I am buggered, and sticky. Bloody hard way to make $300 if you ask me.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The problem with the blogosphere... the complete lack of credibility of a story that starts with "The aunt of a person who commented on a blog I read used to tell a story...".

Perhaps I could tell this story as an urban legend. After all, that's about how it's going to be received anyway. a local retail store, and in the staff lounge, management had posted a notice saying, “It is against company policy to discuss salaries.” And someone else (presumably an employee) had written below it, “I’d prohibit it too if I paid what you do!”

I have always been bemused that employees buy into the secret squirrels about salary payments. I don't get why employees voluntarily support a system that clearly allows their exploitation. I like this little story, despite its highly dubious credentials.

It's not a religion, it's a uni course

In case my course of study was looking too sensible or coherent, I could enrol in a Jedi course at Queens University in Belfast. But since they don't provide light sabres, I might pass this time round.

Of course, I can be flippant, but as someone who has written a serious essay on the pop culture significance of iPods, perhaps I should keep my potty blackness to myself.

The Whitlams

Last night Crash and I managed to go to a concert together, which is a relatively rare phenomenon. He's a big Whitlams fan, and I like a fair bit of their music quite a lot. Then again, I find some of it rather dull, and Tim Freedman is possibly the most irritating person in Australian music.

Last night they played with Symphonie des Femme, who as far as I can tell are stringsource with a sexier name for Tim Freedman's benefit. OK, I have no evidence that it is for Tim Freedman's benefit, other than his bizarre treatment of them last night.

The music was great, Whitlams music lends itself very well to orchestral arrangements, and I loved it. Tim Freedman is pretty funny and I generally enjoyed the show. A couple of bizarre moments stood out. Apart from several references to the clothing of the musicians, when they left the stage for the part of the show without them, Tim whinged about being able to hear all the girls chattering, and compared it to recess or "little lunch" at primary school. Nice.

The other bizarre moment was them playing "The Curse Stops Here". They played it second last, in the encore. I hadn't heard it before, and missed the news of Andy's death. Andy being one of the three founding members of the Whitlams, along with Tim and Stevie. Stevie committed suicide in 1996. Andy committed suicide in 2000. Perhaps I am jaded, but I didn't find The Curse Stops Here heartrending, I found it self indulgent and a little dismissive of those who died. I understand anger towards suicide, I just thought the Charlie trilogy did it better, this one feels like it's all about Tim. Then again, perhaps that isn't so surprising.

Still, a fun show. You'd never hate a Whitlams concert.

Next up more Aussie music, Faker next week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Just because it just popped into my head for some reason - last night I did not dream about an older girl child, I dreamed about buying dark chocolate coated coffee beans instead of milk*. Oh the humanity! Perhaps I should see someone about these nightmares.

*I don't know why I prefer milk, it seems that dark should be better, but I definitely prefer milk chocolate with my coffee beans.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Not quite right

I'm tired. People are commenting on it when I am not actually deliberately projecting it. I don't entirely know why.

My emotions are even less in check than usual. I read a news feed report that literally left me shaking and sobbing. Objectively, it was horrific, but in no way connected to me. If I start reacting like this to every awful story, I will end up catatonic.

And right now I am sitting in a warm room with a heater on and freezing. That is probably just the tiredness, but I still don't know why I am so tired.

And I keep having those dreams about an older girl child in my care. Not related, and probably now just s self fulfilling prophecy, but I desperately want there to be some deep seated psychological explanation, despite all logic suggesting it is just some weird quirk of the subconscious.

Monday, September 08, 2008


On Saturday we had about 475 people at our house for a pot luck dinner as a surprise 50th for a friend. Those in Sydney will be well aware that it was persisting down on Saturday, all day. Those who know me, also know that it rains in my dining room whenever it rains outside.

Plan A was to have a BBQ, but the weather scuttled that plan. The only possible option was Plan B - party inside. But the waterfall in the dining room was making that look unattractive. So three of us (Crash, Ed and myself) put our heads together and came up with this:

It is our own personal art installation, we call it "Flood".

This is the business end, and the new pool for our waterfall.

It made a good talking point for the 475 people, who still didn't fit in our house, and at least they could make witty remarks in the warm and dry.

The party went off pretty well, I found my bed at about 2:30am.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Won't somebody please think of the children?

Just a week or so ago, I was discussing Mem Fox with some friends, over a copy of "Where's the Green Sheep?". We were discussing that her pro-reading stance is generally a Good Thing, but I expressed some suspicion of looneyism on the basis of her many many rules about reading to kids.

And then this weekend this appeared.

Ms Fox , 62-year-old author of books such as Possum Magic, Koala Lou and Where Is the Green Sheep, told News Ltd she believed society would look back on the trend of putting infants in childcare and wonder "how could we have allowed that child abuse to happen".

"I don't know why some people have children at all if they know that they can only take a few weeks off work," she said.

Mmmmm. I don't know what Mem Fox's definition of infants is, but the Australian Family Association (whoever they are) defined it as less than 2, maybe even 3.

Firstly, I am not convinced how exactly a children's author is qualified to have newsworthy opinions on the subject.

Secondly, while there is real validity in looking at all the various issues of child care - including making it viable for parents to stay home if they want to, and also ensuring real quality care is available for those who can't or don't want to - exactly what is to be gained by such ridiculous, unfounded, inflammatory statements? How dare she condemn a huge swathe of the population as child abusers.

Thirdly, my reading of most of the literature is that good quality child care ends up with different, but not better or worse outcomes than kids who stay at home. I am not sure about the situation for very young (less than 3 or 6 month olds), I haven't read enough to have an opinion. My gut says the answer could be different, but I don't know for sure. And it may just mean "good quality" means something different for very little ones.

And as for that "I don't know why some people have children at all if they know that they can only take a few weeks off work," remark. WTF?

I think I will be less reserved in my suspicions of looneyism in future...

Education minister

A while ago a wrote to the (acting) Education minister to growl about the Shine program being used in public schools, as pointed out by Mim. I finally got this reply:

I write in response to your correspondence of 26th July 2008 to the Acting Minister for Education and Training, the Hon John Hatzistergos MLC, regarding the Shine program in NSW high schools. The Minister has asked me to respond on his behalf.

Recent media attention has focused on the Shine program and its use in NSW secondary schools. Shine is a program that claims a "preventative, solutions-based model, committed to seeing females connected to positive pathways in their lives and encountering their true value". Shine is one of many externally available programs that schools may choose to conduct ti complement the school's teaching and learning program.

The Department of Education and Training does not recommend or endorse these programs. Decisions about which resources to purchase are made by school principals who are best placed to determine what adds value to the curriculum, based on the needs and interests of the students and the ethos of the community. Consultation with the community should occur. Participation in the Shine program is to be voluntary and with parental consent.

As the Shine program is not designed as a program for special religious education (SRE), to be delivered by approved providers, it should not be offered to students during time set aside for SRE. Schools offering this program during time set aside for SRE are in conflict with the Religious Education policy, Section 3:11.

I hope that this clarifies the situation for you.

It is signed by Robert Randall, R/General Manager, Learning and Development.

Well, no, it doesn't clarify the situation for me. I pretty much knew all that. What I want to know is why something that does have religious intentions is not regarded as religious education, and why something which is just plain wrong is allowed to be chosen by any principal. Does the DoE have no opinion on what rubbish can be delivered in our schools?

Also, what does parental consent entail? Does it mean informed consent? Because I think it is pretty clear that unless parents know what's in it, it isn't informed consent.

It seems pretty clear to me that the damage that this kind of crap can do to teenage girls doesn't make it on to the radar for our state pollies. Then again, our state pollies are so unbelievably incompetent, this is probably no surprise.

Arrrgggg... I am paralysed by exasperation.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Last week I went to the hairdresser, and when I arrived, there was a woman I know from Ben's school. She looked up and said "There's another Yeo Park mum." For some reason I found that rather grating. I don't have a big problem with being known as Ben's mum, but somehow the leap to Yeo Park mum removes way too much of my identity. I am happy to be involved, but really don't want to be defined that way. It was such a strong reaction, my immediate thought was that I need do less with the P&C. Not exactly constructive, but my objection to institutions is pretty strong.